Professor Gavin Walker and the Process Engineering Lab team at the Bernal Institute scoped three top honours, including the prestigious Academic or Research Lab of the year at the recent Irish Laboratory Awards 2017 ceremony in Dublin. This event recognises and celebrates the successes and achievements of Ireland’s internationally renowned scientists in areas such as innovation, leadership, and collaboration. The Process Engineering Lab was honoured in the Chemical Laboratory and Pharmaceutical Laboratory categories, and most notably as the Academic or Research Laboratory for 2017. In awarding these honours, the jury mentioned the lab as being 'unrivaled', a reflection and recognition of the positive impact of the research activities undertaken by Professor Gavin Walker and his team at the Bernal Institute.
The Bernal Process Engineering Laboratory, uniquely hosts three international leading research centres based in the University of Limerick: the Science Foundation Ireland funded Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC); the industry and Enterprise Ireland (EI) funded Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC); and, the EI and IDA funded Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC).
The group is led by Professor Gavin Walker, Bernal Chair of Process Engineering and supported by several young research active staff including, Dr Denise Croker, Dr Emmet O’Reilly, Dr Luis Padrela, Dr David Egan, Dr Darren Whitaker and Dr Ahmad Albadarin.
The Bernal Institute nurtures Ireland’s research leaders of the future and it will support Ireland’s progress for many generations to come. The Bernal Institute is named after John Desmond Bernal, one of Ireland’s most influential scientists, who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of crystallography, a technique that is extensively used in a wide range of scientific disciplines. In addition to his scientific strengths, Professor Bernal had a reputation as a selfless supporter of and mentor to young scientists.